England's match against the Barbarians on Sunday has been cancelled due to a breach in coronavirus protocols by Barbarians players, the Rugby Football Union has announced.

Seasoned veterans Chris Robshaw, Richard Wigglesworth and Sean Maitland were among a contingent of 12 who left the team hotel in central London on Wednesday night in order to have dinner.

Former Leinster and Ireland back Fergus McFadden appeared to admit on Twitter that he was also among the dozen, writing that he wanted to "front up and apologise profusely for my part in letting down @barbarians_fc."

The Barbarians were scrambling to fill the gaps in their squad before a deadline of 3pm set by the RFU, who are investigating the breach with a view to summoning any transgressors before an independent disciplinary hearing.

And after learning there was an additional breach of protocol on top of the incident already known, the governing body said it had no choice but to cancel the match, which was due to be played at Twickenham.

"As part of its ongoing investigation into a breach of the Covid code of conduct that took place on 21 October, the RFU has discovered there was an earlier undisclosed breach that took place on 20 October when a number of Barbarians players left the hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers about their whereabouts," an RFU statement read.

"The RFU has concluded that the players leaving their Covid-secure environment on 20 October without then isolating from the rest of the group on their return has resulted in the bubble environment being compromised, with the potential risk of Covid transmission from individuals outside the bubble to everyone in the Barbarians team and management.

"The RFU is therefore left with no alternative but to cancel the game." 

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